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NHS Choices Medical Reference

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According to the Care Quality Commission (CQC), 98 % of people in the UK survived their aortic valve replacement operation in the year up to March 2007. Once your wounds have healed, you should be able to go back to your normal activities and you can expect to feel as well, or better, than you did before the operation.

Possible complications

Following an aortic valve replacement there are a number of possible complications, although most of these are rare. Some possibilities are described below.

  • Infection - the new valve can become infected and inflamed (endocarditis), which can damage your heart. You will be given antibiotics to reduce the risk. 
  • Clotting - this is more likely if you have had mechanical valve replacement. You will be prescribed anticoagulant medication if this is a significant risk.
  • The valve may wear out or become damaged - this is more likely if you are less than 60 years of age and have had a biological valve replacement.
  • Irregular heart beat (arrhythmia) - this affects one in four people temporarily and 1-2% need to have a pacemaker fitted (a small battery-operated device that is inserted under the skin in your chest to help your heart beat regularly). 

The UK Heart Valve Registry

Since 1986, everyone who has valve surgery is automatically registered on a database of UK patients. The information is anonymous, so you cannot be identified individually and it does not affect you directly. Inclusion on the registry enables doctors to monitor the results of heart valve surgery so that they are able to develop the safest techniques and approaches.

Aortic valve

The aortic valve is the valve that controls the flow of blood out of the left ventricle (chamber) of the heart, to the aorta (the body's main artery).
Medical Review: November 18, 2009

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